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Posts Tagged ‘The Mote and the Beam’

I’ve written on a number of occasions about the way our declining culture obsesses about forms while ignoring substance; the rise of Donald Trump seems to have exacerbated the problem, quite possibly because while other politicians are at least hollow mannequins made of plastic, coated with duplicity and filled with money, Trump has approximately as much substance as a balloon animal.  So while other politicians can vomit out all the “sex trafficking” lies they want, even to the point of making outlandish claims that violate the laws of economics, mathematics and even physics, reporters and busybodies go along with them because most Americans are simply too stupid to notice the ludicrosity of the claims, even when a politician is practically playing pocket-pool behind a podium while regaling the audience with his masturbatory fantasies of traumatized preteen girls chained to radiators, shipped around the country in dog crates and raped by a hundred men a day.  Now, the soi-disant anti-Trump “Resistance” is, for the most part, every bit as painfully stupid as the MAGA crowd; however, they’re actively looking for fault in every single thing Trump does, no matter how meaningless.  So when Trump dives headlong into “sex trafficking” mythology and starts telling the same tall tales as every other politician and cop in the country (including “progressive” darling Kamala Harris) in pursuit of his border-wall boondoggle, how are his enemies to attack him without undermining the edifice of lies they’ve painstakingly built over the past 15 years?  By attacking the form of his fantasies rather than the (lack of) substance, naturally:

U. S. President Donald Trump has been painting a wildly inaccurate picture of human trafficking in his effort to sell a border wall that would not make a meaningful difference in fighting the problem, experts on trafficking say.  Over the past two weeks, Trump has repeatedly told lurid stories about women being “thrown into the back seat of a car, or thrown into a van with no windows, with no form of air,” and smuggled over undefended parts of the border with “tape over their mouths, electrical tape…They tape their face, their hair, their hands behind their back, their legs.  They put them in the back seat of cars and vans, and they go — they don’t come in through your port of entry, because you’d see them.  You couldn’t do that,” he said in [a] speech to the American Farm Bureau

In other words, Trump’s repeating the same kind of crude BDSM porn that thousands of cops, politicians, and other self-anointed “sex trafficking experts” have regaled breathless cretins with on a daily basis for over a decade.  So how do the “experts” attack this?

Six trafficking experts from around the U.S. [said]…they had met no trafficking victims who had suffered anything like the experience Trump described…“he’s watching some…type of movie that involves handcuffs and tape over people’s mouths”…said [prohibitionist] Lori Cohen…[fantasist] Martina Vandenberg…[nitpicked] “I have never had a case where someone’s mouth was taped up and they were brought across the border in the way the president described”…Cohen has worked closely with victims of traffickers from Tenancingo, Mexico, a hotbed for sex trafficking

If you’ll follow that last link, you’ll find that this supposed “hotbed” was actually two pimps.  The Tenancingo fantasy was exactly the kind of story Trump’s rhetoric was drawn from, despite the shockingly-disingenuous “wherever did he get THAT from?” these two opportunists gave reporters.  But what do they focus on so as to draw attention to the emperor himself and away from his nonexistent clothes?  Why, the tape, of course!   The Washington Post even went so far as to analyze the kind of tape:

…On at least eight occasions over a period of 12 days this month, the president has argued publicly for his proposed wall on the southern border by claiming without evidence that traffickers tie up and silence women with tape before illegally driving them through the desert from Mexico to the United States in the backs of cars and windowless vans…the adhesive is sometimes blue tape.  Other times it is electrical tape or duct tape.  In some instances, the descriptions are more salacious and graphic. “Human trafficking — grabbing women, in particular — and children, but women — taping them up, wrapping tape around their mouths so they can’t shout or scream, tying up their hands behind their back and even their legs and putting them in a back seat of a car or a van — three, four, five, six, seven at a time,” the president said in the Cabinet Room on Jan. 11.  (A timeline of the president’s taped-women remarks appears below)…

This is followed by quotes from a number of talking heads obsessing about the tape and pretending they have no idea at all about where Trump got this wanking fantasy, despite the ubiquity of moronic taped mouth imagery in “sex trafficking” propaganda.  Naturally, nobody but Frontpage Confidential bothered to mention the real story here:

…Come fire or flood (or wall), the federal government never seems to run out of money to throw at its war on sex workers.  On Tuesday, January 8, 2019…Trump signed the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act, earmarking $430 million to battle what it calls a sex-trafficking scourge but which is, in actuality, a sex-trafficking boondoggle — the product of hype and hysteria sown by politicians and others who stand to gain from the government’s largess.  The Douglass Act and its attendant windfall capped off a barrage of four anti-sex-trafficking bills that Congress pushed through just before Christmas.  Trump affixed his signature to the measures amid a government shutdown over his desire for a $5 billion wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and not long after tweeting that he’s thinking of denying California billions of dollars in emergency aid to help the state recover from the damage done by forest fires.  (Additionally, Trump’s advisors reportedly are considering diverting disaster-relief funds from several states and Puerto Rico to pay for the president’s wall)…But never let it be said that niggling financial concerns could obstruct the federal government in its goal of eradicating commercial sex among consenting adults…

Nothing to see here, citizens; the nation’s mainstream press knows you don’t really want to know the truth about prohibition.  So instead, they’re going to argue about what size Cinderella’s glass slippers were and consult “experts” about what Teletubbies eat for breakfast. 

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All the excitement and hand wringing about [sex robots] was…pointless because [they] just don’t exist.  –  Mark Hay

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

The head pastor of a Methodist congregation in Orange County [California]…was charged…with two counts of molesting a girl under 14 years old…John Rodgers McFarland…was arrested…Dec. 18…San Diego County prosecutors filed two counts of lewd acts on a child…stem[ming] from incidents in 2012 and 2013…Police in Fountain Valley, where McFarland worked as a pastor at a Methodist church for 26 years, said there is “evidence that McFarland abused other victims during his time as a pastor in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach”…He was the head pastor from 1988 to 2014 at Fountain Valley United Methodist Church, and a pastor at Surf City Church in Huntington Beach from 2009 to 2014…McFarland was also the youth pastor at San Dieguito United Methodist Church in Encinitas from 1978 to 1981…

Backwards into the Future (#425) 

I wonder how long it will be before the US abandons “re-education” for sex workers and clients?

China looks set to abolish a controversial system that lets police arbitrarily detain sex workers and their clients for up to two years without trial for “compulsory education”.  The “detention and re-education for those involved in prostitution” program, which has existed for 27 years, was recommended for abolition…by the Legislative Affairs Commission…scholars, legal practitioners and members of the public…have long lobbied for the change on the grounds such administrative detention is unjust, extrajudicial and particularly punitive.  Sex work will remain punishable …by a penalty of up to 15 days’ detention.  The parallel custody and education system [h]as…[since] 1991…authorized police to force sex workers into various forms of long-term “education” which included morality lessons, written confessions, forced labor and other humiliating activities designed to “remove evil habits”…

Shift in the Wind (#530)

More and more, the media in many countries are siding with sex workers:

On December 17th, sex workers…and…activists from Macedonia held the 11th annual “Red Umbrella March” in Skopje…The Macedonian march was organized by STAR-STAR, the first sex workers collective in the Balkans…participants demand changes to in the Criminal Code which has remained unchanged for three decades since the fall of Communism…with exception to increasing penalties for sex workers…

Divided We Fall (#672)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

…a darkening wave of internet censorship…started when Congress passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) in March…Long before these laws were passed though, sex workers and advocates spoke out against them, [explaining] that their terms were vague and overreaching and would…decimate the digital platforms that have specifically provided a space for workers to meet, vet clients, and engage in consensual business in an online environment far safer than working on the street…The sex workers’ fears did materialize. Craigslist immediately deleted its Personals section…and Backpage…was seized by the FBI.  Multiple sex work forums disappeared immediately…harming and isolating queer people…Over the past few months alone Recon, a fetish dating site for gay men, saw their Youtube temporarily suspended…Naked Boys Reading saw their Facebook page temporarily banned…In October, Facebook was revealed to be blocking many LGBTQ+ ads as part of its new advertising policy…Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has also appeared to be censoring the queer community with algorithms that, intentionally or otherwise, flag queer content at a higher rate than non-queer content…

The Mote and the Beam (#701)

I wish writers would stop these pandering claims that censorship attempts are “well-intentioned”:

…a string of civil lawsuits [has] intended to pin liability on online platforms for allegedly providing material support to terrorists.  Several federal trial courts dismissed such suits [last] year, but some of these cases are on appeal and plaintiffs have filed several new ones.  If these suits are successful…platforms would have little choice to become much more restrictive in what sorts of speech they allow…these cases…threaten the availability of open online forums and Internet users’ ability to access information.  That’s why EFF filed legal briefs in 2018 asking two different federal appellate courts to dismiss material support cases against social media platforms…So far, courts have been quick to toss out these material support lawsuits…As well-intentioned as these cases are, they pose a threat to…online communities…[they] threaten Internet users’ and the platforms’ First Amendment rights…[and] jeopardize one of the Internet’s most important laws, Section 230…

Censorship and prohibition are not, and by their very nature cannot be, “well-intentioned”.  They are attempts to control other people’s minds, bodies and lives and are thus intrinsically evil no matter how they’re excused by authoritarians.

Disaster 

It’s good to see so many journalists recognizing how dangerous the War on Whores has become.  This Forbes article on “The 9 Most Important Sex Trends Of 2018” includes the following:

…FOSTA-SESTA…opens internet platforms to liability for…user-generated content, creating a major legal risk for sites used to facilitate sex work…[and] adds to the popular, yet false, conflation of sex work with sex trafficking…The law has led to the shutdown of a number sites, groups, and forums sex workers used to facilitate their operations…[and] share safety information…and…has also…accelerated a wave of sexual censorship online…FOSTA-SESTA “is causing major havoc,” argues [sexologist Jill] McDevitt, for “anyone who uses the internet to read, research, or express themselves sexually in any way”…[experts] are worried that Twitter, the last major bastion of sexual speech online, may fall to this wave of censorship in the new year…

Imaginary Victims (#864) 

As I’ve pointed out many times, “safe harbor” laws only protect “perfect victims”, not real ones:

The Summit County Juvenile Court in Ohio didn’t follow the law when it allowed a 15-year-old girl who was a human trafficking victim to be tried as an adult in the robbery and murder of the man who trafficked her, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled…The high court, however, upheld the girl’s conviction and sentence to prison for the rest of her life…[claiming] Alexis Martin couldn’t prove that the judge’s decision to bind her over to adult court would have changed if the juvenile court had [actually followed the “safe harbor” law as it was required to do]…

Gorged With Meaning (#877)

Ignoring student sex workers would be fine; the problem is that universities are actively harming them:

Universities must stop ignoring the plight of a growing number of students turning to sex work and should start offering non-judgemental support, campaigners demand.  Students and experts have accused institutions of “simply burying their heads in the sand” over the issue…many universities are…actively blocking groups trying to support students involved in sex work.  In one case a student…sex work[er] was evicted from her home and threatened with expulsion by her university…The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP)…have fought a number of cases recently where universities have threatened to throw out students if they do not stop doing sex work…

The Course of a Disease (#884)

Israeli prohibitionists are trying to criminalize all sex work:

The Knesset approved the first reading of a bill limiting the Israeli access to…sites presenting adult-related materials…the bill demands web-service providers to send a message to house-holds with internet access asking if they wish to have such sites blocked or not…Should they decline the offer they will be asked to provide personal information [which will then be shared with the government] proving that they are adults and are the ones paying for the service…The Knesset also approved adopting the Nordic Model…which…is…a state intervention on people’s right’s and bodies as well as a criminaliz[ation of] human activity that will be very hard to prevent…

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The carpet was just pulled out underneath us.  –  Tammy Marie Kruwell

Oops

300 texts does not equate to 300 men, since many guys send a barrage:

A Michigan woman says hundreds of men solicited her for sex within just a couple days…because her number ended up on an escort [advertising] website…Her phone holds nearly 300 texts and some voicemails from men looking for attention.  Susan said she didn’t even know most of the sexual lingo in the texts…one of the texts referenced a website called “Skip the Games”…the family emailed the site administrator numerous times and asked them to take the number down.  They had no success [until they copied a TV station in]…on an email…

First They Came for the Hookers… 

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you from the lies of cops and prudes:

The Providence [Rhode Island] Board of Licenses revoked the [Foxy Lady] strip club’s licenses [less than a week before Christmas because] Providence Police arrested three dancers at the club last week [for refusing to give pigs sex]…at least 200…employees are suddenly out of work…Mayor Jorge Elorza [slandered] the club [claiming it was] running a “full-on prostitution ring”.  The attorney for the club, Fausto Anguilla, has [pointed out that] police…never proved that sex was occurring inside the club’s private rooms.  Several dancers…[told reporters] management at the club is strict with its no-prostitution rules, and cut ties with dancers who were caught having sex in the private rooms…

Torture Chamber 

Our government refers to this as “correction”:

A [privately-owned prison for] juvenile [prisoners]…in northern Minnesota is accused of failing to stop the sexual abuse of minors in its care, according to two federal lawsuits…[which] detail two separate [coercive] sexual relationships between teenage girls and employees dating back to 2014, both resulting in criminal convictions…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#412) 

New items of this type appear under the heading “Permanent Record”:

“LEGAL ‘NYMPH’,” blared the front page of [the December 13thToronto Sun. “Law student faces good character hearing over double life as an escort.”  Except — as the story about prospective lawyer Nadia Guo made clear near its top — what the headline described was not the case at all…No one complained about her escort job.  Instead, the complaints made to the Law Society of Ontario concerned Guo’s conduct as an articling student in the latter half of 2015…the piece by courts reporter Sam Pazzano…[also revealed her stage name], “Dawn Lee”…the Sun ran a correction to its front-page headline [the next day]…But Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno ran her own piece …that led with Guo’s sex work, printed her work name in its first sentence, and expressed apparent surprise and disappointment that the Law Society chose not to [persecute] her…for [doing work to pay for school]…

Traffic Jam (#680)

Looks like Minnesota’s second attempt to imprison a bunch of migrants as “sex traffickers” fared better than its first:

A federal jury in St. Paul has convicted all five people charged with conspiring to traffic hundreds of Thai women for sex…nearly three dozen other [people were charged]…all but five [made] plea…[bargains]…Prosecutors said victims, some of whom testified during the trial, were misled as to how much they truly owed and were threatened if they tried to leave the business…U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald described the case as one of the largest trafficking networks ever dismantled…

I’d be a lot more inclined to believe there was serious exploitation here if we hadn’t heard all this before, especially the practically-impossible claims of client numbers.  Remember, migrant sex workers are far less likely to be deported if the agree to sing the state’s song, so there’s no real way to know how much of this is true and how much hype.

The Mote and the Beam (#776)

Just in case you though FOSTA was as bad as it would get:

…Congress…authorized a [bipartisan] national [crusade to] arrest…sex [workers’ clients] and approved the use of secret wiretaps in misdemeanor prostitution cases…as part of the massive “Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act“…through a secret vote of the sort civil libertarians have long opposed…based on the false idea that customers of…adult sex workers [magically] drive demand for minors.  All state and local cops, prosecutors, and judges are to be [encouraged]…to [steal the] asset[s of sex workers and clients]…In addition, Congress “clarif[ies] that commercial sexual exploitation is a form of gender-based violence,” whatever that means…The House…passed the bill via “voice vote,” a process under which there’s neither a record of how members voted, whether they were present for a vote, nor how many total members actually voted…One provision essentially creates a new federal crime initiative by directing resources and money to fight “sextortion”…

Lack of Evidence (#859) 

If sex work weren’t illegal laws like this would be easily overturned:

Jessica, a 23-year-old transgender woman living in Queens…[was arrested on] July 8…and charged…with “loitering for the purpose of engaging in a prostitution act”…[the “evidence” cops listed was that she] was wearing “a mini skirt and a blouse which showed cleavage”…Loitering arrests increased more than 180 percent between January and October…last year…More than half of the…arrests occurred in Queens, where attorneys say they’re concentrated in…immigrant-heavy neighborhoods…This increase in loitering arrests follows a class action lawsuit backed by the Legal Aid Society of New York that challenges the constitutionality of New York’s law on loitering for the purposes of prostitution…recent loitering complaints noted that defendants were wearing “black cowboy boots” and “light blue short [sic], a red tank top and tan sandals”…

See also “Business As Usual” below.

Rescued To Death (#869)

“Abatement”.  A term used for inhuman things, especially nuisances:

A new unit that San Francisco police created to [harass sex workers]…is facing opposition from advocates…the Sex Workers Abatement Unit…has resulted in an uptick in the number of sex workers who have been arrested in the Mission…[and reinforces] a hostile environment where “women are forced into more isolated, unfamiliar areas where attacks are more likely…sex workers who are victims of violence are intimidated and running from police,” [Rachel] West [of US PROS] said.  West argued that the unit undermines a police policy from last December that [supposedly] prevents sex workers who are the victims of certain crimes from being arrested for performing sex work.  The policy [gives lip service to the fact] that “the criminalization of sex work is one of the primary barriers to reporting violence to law enforcement”…

I’ve spoken out against these hollow “policies” before; they are not binding and can be reversed as easily as they were granted.  They’re not a serious effort to respond to sex workers’ concerns; they’re just meant to shut us up.

Business As Usual (#895)

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

Mariatu was 15 years old when her widowed mother died and she ended up sleeping rough on the streets of Freetown where she fell into commercial sex work.  Not long after, she was arrested for “loitering” and, unable to pay a police bribe, spent six months in an adult jail.  Now 22, she is desperate to escape a life marked by suffering, violence and exploitation and is appealing to the state to provide more support to Sierra Leone’s sex workers who are stigmatised by society and suffer unfair treatment at the hands of the legal system.  She spoke to the Guardian before the online launch of a documentary to mark the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers which…examines their treatment by [cops]…who…exploit…them for sex and money…

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They couldn’t have designed a law better to make it less safe.
–  Canadian sex worker

The Proper Study

Academics keep “discovering” what we’ve been saying for decades:

[Street] workers are more likely to suffer poor health, violence and abuse in countries where their trade is criminalised, a major review…from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine…found…sex workers suffering repressive policing – including arrest, imprisonment and extortion by officers – were three times more likely to experience sexual or physical violence from a client and were twice as likely to have HIV or another sexually transmitted infection as those who lived in countries where sex work was tolerated.  Sex workers who fear that they, or their clients, may be picked up by the police are more likely to engage in risky encounters, unable to take the time to talk to a client before getting into a car or negotiate terms in advance…Their health and safety were at risk not only in countries where sex work was [fully] criminalised, but also…[those with] the “Nordic model”…

Imaginary Evils

I don’t know which is more exploitative, the “authorities” who want to deport migrant women, or the “advocates” who want to cram their experiences into the “sex trafficking” paradigm:

A worrying number of vulnerable Chinese women, many of whom are trafficking victims, are being detained under threat of deportation…the women have been picked up in immigration raids on restaurants, brothels and massage parlours…[and] held in detention…with no legal representation or access to interpreters…“These women are…still in fear of their traffickers,” said Natasha Walter, director of Women for Refugee Women…Many of the women do not [claim to be]…victims of trafficking until [they realize it might protect them from deportation]…Shalini Patel…said that late disclosure was…recognised [in “sex trafficking” dogma as a] symptom of trafficking…

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

…The youth director, Dave Hyles, was the son of the charismatic pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, considered at the time the flagship for thousands of loosely affiliated independent fundamental Baptist churches and universities.  At least [four] teen girls would accuse Hyles of [rape or] sexual [assault], but he never faced charges or even sat for a police interview related to the accusations.  When he got in trouble, Hyles was able to simply move on, from one church assignment to the next…For decades, women and children have faced rampant sexual abuse while worshiping at independent fundamental Baptist churches around the country.  The network of churches and schools has often covered up the crimes and helped relocate the offenders…The Star-Telegram discovered at least 412 allegations of sexual misconduct in 187 independent fundamental Baptist churches and their affiliated institutions, spanning 40 states and Canada…the number of abused is [probably] far greater because few victims ever come forward…

The Mote and the Beam (#561)

Instead of chasing ambulances, these shysters are chasing the “sex trafficking” bandwagon:

…Among the worst forms of modern day slavery is sex trafficking, a heinous crime that disproportionately affects women and children.  It may even be happening in your city.  Hotels, casinos, resorts, nightclubs, and other [deep-pocketed] establishments [are fantasized by prohibitionists to] play an important role in sex trafficking, because sexual exploitation of trafficking victims often takes place under their roofs…hotels and motels have a financial incentive to look the other way and may not be in a rush to offer the necessary training.  At Morgan & Morgan, we find this unacceptable.  No one should look the other way when it comes to sex trafficking and we want to hold those who enable it accountable for their inaction.  If you are a victim of sex trafficking, we may be able to help.  Contact us today…for a confidential, free discussion.  You may be entitled to compensation…

“Hold accountable” is a euphemism used by authoritarians to mean “persecute under guise of some kind of moralistic rhetoric”.  It’s commonly seen in phrases such as “hold sex buyers accountable”, which means “persecute men for wanting consensual sex”.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#577)

Partly because of their legalized status, strippers are spearheading the movement for sex worker labor rights:

…Bella Vendetta…founded the Western Mass –based advocacy group, Team Clearheels 413, to address issues faced by local dancers…many dancers…are dependent upon club managers’ integrity, which leaves them vulnerable to predators in many of the same ways as are those in the broader sex worker community…exotic dance may be legal, but the social stigma attached to the profession discourages performers from seeking assistance for a number of issues…Vendetta was able to start putting together a loose organization of dancers and advocates to address some of the most immediate needs…

Still a Child (#721) 

Louisiana somehow got a federal court to reverse its own decision striking down a bad law:

Stormy Daniels joined strippers and club workers in a call to repeal a Louisiana law that prevents women between 18 and 20 years old from dancing in clubs, a measure they argue endangers and discriminates against women while failing to combat “trafficking” that its proponents have propped up as a defense for the law…Speakers argued that the creation of another barrier — following club raids that led to forced closures and significant restrictions on dancers — merely limits legal work opportunities for many women and potentially could force others into more dangerous sex work.  New Orleans club workers estimate the rule will impact dozens of dancers in their clubs…the [law was passed] in 2016…After several legal challenges, a three-judge panel at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last month reversed its own decision and decided the state can enforce the law…

Lack of Evidence (#868) 

They were “safeguarded”, no doubt at a “safe house”.  How stupid do these pigs think we are?

Police have busted six suspected brothels and…discovered 16 women who were believed to be working as sex workers and safeguarded them…Police also found 14 women hanging around streets and [demanded they go]…to Changing Lives project, which…[harasses] sex work[ers] as well as [subjecting them to anti-sex propaganda]…women could face court if they ignore the [brainwashing] and are found [walking on public] streets [as though they were real people.  Then a pig oinked a lot of nonsense about]…”the illegal sex trade”…[and fantasized that] “Brothels can be linked to other wider organised crime”…

They “discovered” them, like inanimate objects hidden in a box.  The cop lies in this one are especially egregious, give that the “sex trade” isn’t illegal in the UK, and that massive police operations in the UK have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases.

The Widening Gyre (#871) 

Cops are trying to regain control of the runaway moral panic by releasing even more hysterical exaggeration than the Facebook loons:

Crystal Blanton, [chief propaganda officer] of the Marion County Human Trafficking Task Force, said…”Thousands of people are being human trafficked.  Right here in Marion County and across the state of Florida…it’s the internet…Social media has grown the field of human trafficking.  It’s easier for these traffickers to make contact with victims…There are recruiters, juvenile recruiters in the schools, working with a pimp of some kind, and they are sent out in the schools and given a job to bring other minors on board,” Blanton [panted as she fingered herself frantically]…

A Broker in Pillage (#874)

Here’s more detail on Philadelphia’s scam to steal citizens’ property:

…A forfeiture petition for one property lists one gram of marijuana, a half gram of cocaine and some over-the-counter pills as justification…In one case recently settled in a $3 million class-action lawsuit, Norys Hernandez nearly lost the rowhouse she and her sister owned after police arrested her nephew on drug dealing charges…Another family named in the suit fought to save their house from [cops]…after their son was arrested for selling $40 worth of drugs outside of it…None of the homeowners were themselves accused of committing a crime…The money made off of the seized homes went to buy wish list items ranging from new submachine guns to custom uniform embroidery…at least 11 properties…were sold [directly] to [cops]…looking for a side hustle…the Philadelphia Police Department refuse[s] to disclose any information…and…the DA [claims to have] not kept records of…how many properties were sold…These seizures were notably focused in black and Latino neighborhoods with high rates of poverty…

Pyrrhic Victory (#878) 

This is a type of surveillance the Stasi would recognize:

…the US…DEA…awarded a contract to an American defense company to build a vacuum cleaner for surveillance purposes….Special Services Group, LLC  received a $42,595 contract on November 28 to manufacture a “custom Shop Vac concealment with Canon M50B”…the DEA expects delivery of the spy vacuum on January 01…the DEA [also]  purchased an undisclosed number of secret surveillance cameras that are being disguised as streetlights

Pyrrhic Victory (#882)

TSA’s specific plan is to help DHS build a giant biometric database:

The Transportation Security Administration has set out an alarming vision of pervasive biometric surveillance at airports, which cuts against the right to privacy, the “right to travel” and the right to anonymous association with others.  The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018…included language that…provide[s] implied Congressional endorsement to biometric screening of domestic travelers…TSA…plans to work with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to roll out increased biometric collection and screening for all passengers, including Americans traveling domestically…it provides no strategy for dealing with passengers who are…misidentified…

Whither Canada? (#888)

It’s good to see a prohibitionist forced to admit that Canada’s new prostitution laws were specifically intended to harm sex workers, not “protect” us as prohibitionist propaganda claims:

News reports frequently claim that Canada’s criminal prostitution laws are failing to achieve their goals.  These articles often suggest that the laws were implemented to make sex work saferhealthier and  less risky for those who engage in it.  Despite these…assertions, these outcomes are not what the laws aim to achieve…On Nov. 29, 2018, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice…upheld the constitutionality of these laws…[however,] the Court specifically rejected the applicants’ argument that an objective of PCEPA is to enhance the safety, security and dignity of people involved in sex work…

The Prudish Giant (#896) 

I’m glad people are beginning to realize how dangerous Facebook is to freedom:

FOSTA became law almost entirely because Facebook did an about-face on its position on the law — which only recently was revealed to have happened because COO Sheryl Sandberg decided it was important to appease Congress on something, even against the arguments of Facebook’s own policy team.  As we pointed out at the time, this was Facebook basically selling out the internet…not only will it not help clean up the mess it caused, it’s leaning in on this new puritanical internet that it wants to create…it has…put up a bunch of new guidelines in its “community standards” document, under the head of “sexual solicitation” that ban a wide variety of things from naughty words to expressing a sexual preference…

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The U.S. Attorney made it clear that he intends to put us in prison for the rest of our lives.  –  Michael Lacey

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

Liu Aik Kang…[of Singapore] hatched a plan with his cousin and the cousin’s friend to pose as [cops] to [rape] a…[criminalized] sex worker and steal from her.  They…[intentionally] sought out their victim because they knew [she] was [doing sex work]…illegal[ly]…Liu…was sentenced to 14 months and two weeks’ jail for his offences…[after raping the victim] Liu, together with his cousin Hu Zhihao…made off with more than S$8,000 [$5850 US]…worth of [their victims’ possessions], including laptops and cameras…

Dysphemisms Galore 

In normal adult sane-person language, she owned four very ordinary massage parlors:

Dan T. Zheng…of Boston was arrested…and charged with trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, deriving support from prostitution and procuring support for prostitution…for [owning] four massage parlors…Six female victims were also located…police learned that male clients were allegedly being offered, and accepting additional services of a sexual nature following their scheduled massage for an additional fee…said District Attorney Ryan…“The defendant in this case was allegedly using businesses in four communities as a front to provide illegal sexual services for a fee while exploiting the women who were employed by her in the process”…

Policing for Profit

Cops will never stop doing this as long as the state keeps giving them pretexts:

…several [cops] in Northern California [stole] three pounds of legal marijuana from [Zeke Flatten] during a traffic stop, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit…And he’s not the only one who…was…robbed by a group of [profiteering pigs]…three [pigs] from the town of Rohnert Park and Hopland Band of Pomo Indians pulled him over last December while he was driving through Mendocino County.  The[y]…were not wearing name tags or badges, and [lied that] they…[were] federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms…Flatten [foolishly] told the [bandits] about the marijuana and offered to show them his paperwork for it, but they [stole] it and left without issuing him a ticket or running his name to check for outstanding warrants…The lawsuit, citing recent local news investigations, says [cops] from the town and tribe have a pattern of using a lucrative civil asset forfeiture program to shake down motorists for marijuana and cash during traffic stops…

Rough Trade (#351)

Politicians will do anything to avoid decriminalizing women’s sexual choices:

When rape shield laws spread across the country in the 1970s to protect sexual misconduct victims from having their sexual histories used against them in court, women could finally come forward without fearing their “promiscuity” would be paraded in front of a jury…But…stigmas…about…sex workers are still etched into the rape shield statute by treating them differently when they suffer sexual attacks…In New York’s legislative bodies, two bills attempt to address New York’s outmoded law.  One…removes an exception that allows the defense to introduce evidence proving the victim has been convicted of a prostitution offense in the three years prior to the alleged sex offense under prosecution…The other…extends the rape shield protection to cover sex trafficking cases…

Because we couldn’t just make sex work not a crime, no sirree.

Rotting Fruit

But please, tell me again about how the political teams are really opposed:

Jeffrey Epstein had a little black book filled with the names and personal phone numbers of some of the world’s wealthiest and most influential people, [including] Bill Clinton and Donald Trump…A money manager for the super-rich, Epstein had two private jets, the largest single residence in Manhattan, an island in the Caribbean, a ranch in New Mexico and a waterfront estate in Florida…For years, Epstein lured an endless stream of teenage girls to his Palm Beach mansion, offering to pay them for…sex…with him and others…in 2007, despite substantial evidence…the U.S. attorney in Miami, Alexander Acosta, signed off on a secret deal for the multimillionaire…that ensured he would never spend a day in prison.  Acosta, now President Donald Trump’s secretary of labor, agreed to seal the agreement so that no one — not even Epstein’s victims — would know the full extent of his crimes or who was involved…

The Mote and the Beam (#822)

Since Trump has jumped on this bandwagon, perhaps the soi-disant “resistance” types may start listening to the truth, even if only to spite him:

President Trump took strong action…to hold accountable* those governments that have persistently failed to [persecute sex workers sufficiently to sate US bloodlust]…Specifically, the president will limit the number of national-interest waivers and restrict certain types of foreign assistance for nearly two dozen governments of countries identified as “Tier 3” by the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report.  The report, [a political tool used to blackmail poor countries]…places each country in tiers to [reward obedience to US political pressure]…and urge greater action to [persecute adults for consensual sex]…Tier 3 countries are those that have neither [obeyed] nor made a significant effort to [lock human beings in cages for consensual sex]…this administration will no longer use taxpayer dollars to support governments that consistently fail to [satisfy US puritanism]…

* “Hold accountable” is a euphemism used by totalitarians to mean “persecute under guise of some kind of moralistic rhetoric”.  It’s commonly seen in phrases such as “hold sex buyers accountable”, which means “persecute men for wanting consensual sex”.

Elephant in the Parlor (#847)

I’ve been saying I distrusted Avenatti since almost the beginning of this:

Stormy Daniels…said she’s unsure if [Michael] Avenatti…will continue to represent her.  “I’m tremendously grateful to him for aggressively representing me in my fight to regain my voice…But in other ways Michael has not treated me with the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client.  He has spoken on my behalf without my approval.  He filed a defamation case against Donald Trump against my wishes.  He repeatedly refused to tell me how my legal defense fund was being spent.  Now he has launched a new crowdfunding campaign using my face and name without my permission and attributing words to me that I never wrote or said.”  In response, Avenatti said..that Daniels paid $100 to retain him, and they agreed any money raised in the legal defense fund would go toward his costs…Daniels’ words came after Avenatti was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence [in November].  Prosecutors in Los Angeles declined to charge him with a felony, and Avenatti denied ever acting abusively to any woman.  After those allegations, Daniels said she did not condone violence against women and would end her working relationship with Avenatti if they were found to be true…

Censor Chic (#861) 

Remember when people used to believe that Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto was sincere?

Perhaps you’ve heard about the latest employee uprising at Google, against a search engine and other products tailored for the Chinese government called project Dragonfly.  Workers staged a high-profile…protest [on November 27th] against Dragonfly….[and] raised over $200,000 for a “strike fund”.  This came after a new report confirmed the project and quoted ex-Google engineer and company privacy advocate Yonatan Zunger, who said the company’s privacy and security teams were locked out of key meetings.  Most visible amid Google employee rancor is a statement and petition they posted to Medium…[signed by] 628 [employees]…a leaked confidential memo [reported] that in 2016 Dragonfly was originally “developed as an app for Android and iOS devices, and would link people’s search records to their personal cellphone number and track their location“…

Damned Lies (#866)

Remember the government’s boast that it had censored 90% of sex work ads on the internet, which was already 50% false the day it was made?

Online sex ads plunged in April following Backpage’s seizure and [the enactment of FOSTA]…But a new analysis finds the drop in the number of ads may have been short-lived.  According to…[fascist cop-collaboratorsMarinus Analytics, there were about 146,000 online sex ads posted per day in the U.S. on leading escort websites from mid-September to mid-October — and the company expects the total for this month to be even higher.  In contrast, there were about 133,000 such ads posted on Backpage in the month before its shutdown…Instead of backing away amid the government [jihad against sex workers]…some escort websites…[have moved overseas, safely out of the reach of US busybodies,] and see the Backpage shutdown as an opportunity to expand…

Moronic “experts” quoted in the story also think that the lower response to pig-placed fake ads is due to a reduction in “demand”, when in actuality more men are just learning to exercise due diligence.

Changing the Rules

Michael Lacey tells the story of the government’s war on free speech, with Backpage as the bogeyman:

…strong political currents agitated by Senator John McCain, now deceased, and his beer-baroness wife Cindy — with her high-church hair bun and her wildly exaggerated campaign against child sex trafficking — swamped prosecutorial restraint and common sense.  The McCain medicine wagon hauled out roundheads, god botherers, creeping Jesus crawlers, and magical legislative elixirs meant to banish sex workers.  Cindy McCain, in particular, fixated on trafficking.  She has said that she saw the light during a trip to India, after she purchased some gewgaws for her daughter that she suspected — with no evidence — had been made in a sweatshop.  (Evidently, her inherited riches obviated the need for facts.)  The McCains’ fellow carnival barker, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, supervised the inquisition within the halls of Congress.  Even as the government spends millions of dollars trying to put us behind bars, it has not appropriated a penny to aid sex workers with counseling, education, housing, or job training.  The logic apparently hails from an unpublished Dr. Seuss book that begins: “The ‘world’s oldest profession’ exists because of Backpage, which began in 2004”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#885) 

More on Amazon’s campaign to end privacy forever:

An Amazon patent application…describes how a network of cameras could work together with facial recognition technology to identify people, and re[port them to the pigs, an application already being tested in Orlando, Florida].  Amazon’s application says the process leads to…more [surveilled] neighborhoods, as well as better informed [cops]…The application describes creating a database of suspicious persons.  Unwanted visitors would be added to the list when a homeowner tags them as not authorized.  Other people could be added to the database because they are a convicted felon or registered sex offender…”The patent is a roadmap for Amazon’s disturbing vision of surveillance in the future,” [said] Jacob Snow, a technology and civil liberties attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union…”People have the right to go about their daily lives without being watched and tracked”…

Forward and Backward (#889)

Kate Lister of “Whores of Yore” interviews street workers in Leeds:

In 2014, Leeds City Council…designated [a] non-residential area [where] between the hours of 8pm and 6am, there would be no police prosecutions for soliciting or selling sex…a small, but vocal group called “Save Our Eyes” is currently campaigning to have it shut down…[by pretending] that some women are selling sex outside the specified time and place.  Under intense pressure, Leeds City Council has now voted to review the managed approach…But the voices of the women working in the managed area are often missing from the debate over its future…The following interviews are with the street sex workers who work, or have recently worked, within the managed area of Holbeck.  The interviews were secured through Basis Sex Work Project…

“Save Our Eyes”.  In other words, these busybodies are implying that human beings are eyesores.

Toxic Entitlement

It didn’t take long for the “thot audit” to move from a foolish game to an actual threat:

…The harassers [have graduated to] taking advantage of user reporting tools made available by companies like PayPal, Venmo, and CirclePay, in an attempt to force their targets offline and freeze their finances…dozens of…sex workers [have] experienced…harassment and expressed outrage over being banned from multiple online payment service providers…Many of the women…have lost…hundreds of dollars, as most payment companies [steal] whatever funds were stored in the reported account.  Participants in the harassment campaign openly discussed tactics and specific attacks in r/ThotAudit, a public subreddit…Users also posted comprehensive “thot auditing field guides,” including a continually updated list of tens of thousands of potential targets, and detailed instructions for getting sex workers banned from PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, Amazon Pay, Stripe, Circle Pay, Snapchat, and Kik…

Because of these companies’ long history of stealing money from sex workers under the excuse of “TOS violations”, it’s a bad idea for any sex worker who uses them to leave more than a pittance in any of them.  I suggest transferring large amounts out within minutes of receiving them, and don’t let smaller amounts accumulate to over $100.  That way even if your account is closed, at least you don’t lose any money with it.  You might also consider having two bank accounts, and not leaving more than a token amount in the one linked to any payment processor; transfer anything else to the main account ASAP, and do not link it to any online payment processor.

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It’s not money laundering when it’s the government.  –  Scott Shackford

A Broker in Pillage

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together:

In order to get back any of the money that the New Hampshire State Police took from him, Edward Phipps has agreed to let federal prosecutors keep most of it, even though he has not been charged with any crimes.  The cops [stole] the cash during a traffic stop in 2016…[after pulling] the driver over for tailgating and for going one whole mile per hour over the speed limit.  A search turned up a bag full of $46,000 cash in the trunk.  Police then brought in a drug-sniffing dog, which came up empty…As part of the settlement, Phipps not only agrees to give up everything but $7,000 (which will probably have to go to his legal fees).  He agrees never to request that the money to be returned, and he furthermore agrees never to attempt to assert any claim that the government did not have “probable cause” to make him forfeit the money…New Hampshire reformed its civil asset forfeiture laws in 2016 to require a criminal conviction before police or prosecutors could force people to forfeit money or property.  Unfortunately, the state’s reform did not close a loophole that lets local police partner with the feds in a program called Equitable Sharing…The state police can’t seize Phipps’ money on their own.  So they went to the feds to arrange the forfeiture, and then the Equitable Sharing program lets the Justice Department funnel the funds right back to local law enforcement…

Innocence Never Had

Reporter vomits dysphemisms all over a young woman making the best of a bad situation:

Fourteen-year-old Lilian…passes for an innocent girl at first sight.  But a close interaction with her reveals a dark side, apparently a offshoot of a thick skin she as developed in her trade.  Lilian…boasts that she has made a name in sex work…and…has no regrets…[because] her guardians do not support her…

If having a “thick skin” means not being a sentimental idiot, I’m glad I have one.

Bait and Switch (#636)

Why bother looking for actual sex-trafficking victims when cops can just pretend to be them and reap the same rewards?

An Arizona court ruling says it doesn’t violate a defendant’s constitutional rights for a [cop] to [lie about being] a minor during a child prostitution [entrapment scheme]…[the] unanimous ruling…says the law barring a defense based on a [pig’s fantasy role-play] of being a minor is constitutional because it is “rationally related to a legitimate government purpose”…Buren Jarrett Burgess appealed his…convictions stemming from a…[scheme] in which two 27-year-old undercover [sows claimed they were]…16-year-old prostitutes.  Burgess argued that the [women] appeared to be [the] adults [they actually are]…Burgess was arrested in 2014 and the child prostitution crime has since then been changed to “child sex trafficking”…

In other words, a female cop who is obviously an adult can later claim she told a victim she was underage and that’s good enough to convict someone.

To Molest and Rape 

Prosecutors claim they let a child-rapist cop off the hook to “protect” his victim:

Prosecutors gave a plea deal to a[n]…El Paso County [Colorado] Sheriff’s deputy who created a pornographic image involving a young boy and offered to share it on a child porn message board on the Dark Web…Donald Fair…will avoid prison time because of the plea deal [though] he must register as a sex offender and has 10 years to life of sex offender intensive supervised probation…District Attorney George Brauchler is pleased with the deal because [we can’t have members of the ruling class locked in cages like the peons]…“A young innocent child is not further traumatized by testifying and being cross-examined during a trial”…

Funny how nobody worries about traumatizing kids when the rapist isn’t a cop.  Also note we aren’t told the victim’s age; I guess that would anger people even more because it’s probably below 5.

Across the Pond (#757)

Redbridge has a history of harassing sex workers while belching up stupid “crime” rhetoric:

…Redbridge Council has introduced £100 fines for those caught soliciting sex workers.  The move is a bid to [harass and persecute sex workers]…in Ilford Lane…Extra night police patrols throughout the weekend…[increased] lighting, gating alleyways and installing CCTV are other measures put in place to make Ilford Lane a more “hostile environment for [the peasants].”  Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of the [prohibitionists], said…”We want to…create a ‘ring of steel’ around the borough to [harass] our residents and make Redbridge a [more authoritarian] place to live.”  The fines will start being issues from the end of August…

This is one of the places where cops claim they can “build communication with sex workers” via stealing their income by harassing their clients.

The Mote and the Beam (#786)

The government’s latest sleazy trick: attacking with civil suits rather than criminal charges, because the burden of proof is reversed:

…Sex trafficking has become so rampant on this mile and a half stretch that county officials…asked a court to declare it off limits, filing a civil lawsuit that prohibits by name more than 80 pimps, prostitutes and customers from doing business on the infamous “Bissonnet Track”.  The sex trafficking is so open that it’s listed on international websites as Houston’s unofficial red light district.  “For years people in this area have complained about the large number of people buying and selling sex and committing other crimes on or around the Track,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner, who jointly announced the nuisance lawsuit with the county attorney and the city police chief…

“Sex trafficking” has become nothing more than a dysphemism for “sex work”.

To Molest and Rape (#794)

New York pigs are still harassing the young woman who was raped by two of their cronies:

The woman who was…raped by two NYPD detectives while handcuffed in the back of a police van in Brooklyn last year was called a “stupid bitch” by a person attempting to serve subpoena papers from a lawyer for one of the cops.  “THIS ISNT HARASSMENT?!” Anna Chambers wrote on Twitter [last] Wednesday night, along with a video of the man…“There’s your subpoena right there,” the man says on the video. “What are you afraid of[, Anna]?  This isn’t Russia.  I’m not the KGB.”  The man was attempting to hand Chambers a subpoena for photos…show[ing] her mangled wrists following the [brutal] rape by Richard Hall and Eddie Martins.  Chambers repeatedly tells the man to leave.  “[I’m from the sheriff’s office,] I could do whatever I want,” the person says before calling her a “stupid bitch.”  Martins’ lawyer Mark Bederow said he sent the server, but…condemned [his] behavior…

To Molest and Rape (#851) 

It’s rare that politicians’ tendency toward “monkey see, monkey do” actually works for good:

[Politicians] introduced a bill…to prohibit federal [pigs, spooks and g-men] from [raping] people in custody, aiming to close a legal loophole that has let them avoid [rape] convictions by [absurdly] claiming sex with [prisoners] was consensual.  The proposed legislation would direct additional federal funding to local law enforcement agencies in states that close this loophole…Jackie Speier…and…Barbara Comstock…noted that they were “spurred to introduce the bill” following [the rape of]…Anna Chambers…by two New York City detectives…in their police van…

It’s also rare that a “bipartisan” bill actually curtails police power rather than expanding it.

Legislators Gone Wild (#854) 

The anti-whore brigade couldn’t get the people to support them, so politicians overruled the people:

…Dennis Hof has lost the license to his Love Ranch Brothel.  The brothel’s license, liquor license, and the female worker’s cards were all surrendered to the Sheriff’s Office, and the property is currently closed…”It’s more political shenanigans, and it’s at the expense of the people here at the brothel,” said Sonja Bandolik, Love ranch madam…”There’s three federal lawsuits against them.  They’re trying to do a little payback, and what they’re doing is hurting the people that work here.”  County commissioners [claim] they denied renewal permits because the brothel’s application was incomplete.  Commissioner Dan Schinhofen says Hof has racked up a number of violations over the past few years, like having signs in the public right of way and not getting inspections after moving portable buildings…

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Well-adjusted people realize that words have different meanings in different contexts.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Mary Magdalene 

No, it isn’t “orthodoxy” that Mary Magdalene was a whore; quite the opposite, in fact:

A new film about Mary Magdalene sets out to refute the commonly held assumption that she was a prostitute redeemed by Christ…A new film, though, flips the script to show Mary in a new light – as an independent free-thinker who…deserves to be considered as an apostle in her own right…This is deeply contentious territory that flies in the face of the commonly accepted orthodoxy that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute…It is a notion that has been perpetuated for centuries – partly thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber, who had Mary sing about the “many men” she’s “had” in Jesus Christ Superstar…Put all the evidence together and it is easy to conclude that Mary has been the victim of 1,400 years’ worth of character assassination…

Critic Neil Smith’s madonna-whore complex is on full display here; portraying Mary as an “independent free-thinker” is supportive of the idea she was a harlot.  Before the advent of the currently-fashionable “victim” nonsense, we were always seen as independent, uppity women who won’t mind our “place”; in fact, that’s exactly why patriarchal religions dislike us.  But then, I guess we couldn’t expect much from a mind that thinks it makes sense to blame Jesus Christ Superstar (recorded October 1970) for a 1400-year-old tradition.

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false sexual assault accusations:

Thomas Mowbray didn’t even know Eboni Sanders.  They both lived [in Pittsburgh, PA] in the same…building…In early February 2016, they ran into each other in the laundry room.  Mr. Mowbray claims Ms. Sanders came on to him and that he declined…Twelve days after that, Pittsburgh police charged Mr. Mowbray with indecent assault after Ms. Sanders claimed that he had groped her…The charges marked the beginning of a nightmarish two years in the criminal justice system for Mr. Mowbray…and his girlfriend, Patrese Thompson …Over that time, Pittsburgh police filed six criminal cases against Mr. Mowbray and two against Ms. Thompson — all based on shocking allegations made by Ms. Sanders of gun-toting assailants, assaults, threatening letters and phone calls, stalking, contract killings and knife-wielding attacks…Mowbray spent more than six months in jail.  But on Feb. 22, the last of the cases was withdrawn by…prosecutors.  Police had finally [accepted] what the couple had long insisted — that Ms. Sanders was lying.  Now she is the one facing criminal charges.  “For two years of our lives, this woman has been using the criminal justice system to terrorize us,” Ms. Thompson said…

Too Close To Home

Everyone harmed by prostitution laws needs to keep suing over them:

Three men arrested in a 2016 prostitution sting in Bellevue are suing King County and Bellevue police for defamation, [explaining that] officials exaggerated their crimes to satisfy a private foundation that provided a grant for the [pogrom]…Keith Emmanuel, Richard Homchick, and Charles Peters…were only charged with second-degree promoting prostitution during the sweep…However, during press conferences and other public appearances, Bellevue Chief Steve Mylett, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, and former sheriff John Urquhart made statements that made it seem like the three men had engaged in crimes like rape and human trafficking…Those statements were made, the suit alleges, to satisfy Demand Abolition…[billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt’s] foundation that had given the county a grant to [harass sex workers] and [persecute clients].  Demand Abolition gave the prosecutor’s office a $50,000 grant in 2014…and has continued to give grants each year since.  “Defendants have deliberately conflated that prostitution charge with human trafficking and sex slavery as part of a concerted plan to secure private funding by generating publicity and manipulating media coverage of the arrests,” the suit [states]…To keep the grant, the prosecutor’s office had to meet performance targets…increasing the arrests of [men] by 50 percent…

Full of Themselves (#614)

California produces the most horrifying and racist anti-massage-parlor propaganda, hands down:

Doug Bennett, the founder of Magdalene Hope, a [prohibitionist group]…and his [gang] of [busybodies]…[literally spy on Asian-owned massage businesses,] spending their evenings watching the parlors, [stalking] masseuses after they leave and gathering evidence to pass on to the…[cops]…Massage parlors have been [dysphemized as] “modern-day brothels” and “prostitution rings.”  They are [fantasized] by [“trafficking” fetishists] to be storefronts for a complex network of human traffickers shuffling victims throughout the region, multiple [conspiracy theorists, pigs, white supremacists]…and [other tinfoil-hat wearers] said on and off the record…

Naturally, the California Massage Therapy Council is quoted.  Don’t miss the part about how Bennett and his cronies pray together before literally stalking women late at night, and be sure to click on that link in the first line for a look at one of “Magdalene Hope’s” hilariously-bad propaganda ads.

The Widening Gyre (#663)

What hysteria about “crime” in Italy would be complete without bringing in the Mafia?  This lurid, self-righteous mess should serve as a warning to clients to be careful which “journalists” they talk to; this unethical, pompous fantasist fully admits that the only reason she didn’t out a man she interviewed, despite her promise that she wouldn’t, was that he had a wife and children.  Yet she clearly sees herself as moral while the women who honestly sell sex and keep their clients’ confidences are “degraded victims” and the clients who enable them to earn a living are “rapists” who “keep this lurid business of sex slavery alive”.

Opting Out (#700)

“At least one person noted that the UK was at risk of looking like idiots”:

Twitter and other social media companies have so far refused to engage with the government’s plans to introduce age checks to limit underage access to online pornography…Lord Erroll…who chairs the Digital Policy Alliance (DPA)…admitted the ultimate sanction intended for sites that fail to implement AV is unlikely to be applied to Twitter.  Unlike Instagram and Facebook, Twitter has no rules against the posting of sexually explicit material and hosts many accounts that promote publishers and stars of pornography.  “The challenge with that is if you block Twitter, people will just say this is an overreaction, it’s mad, and it would not go down well in public,” Erroll said…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#737)

India’s pigheaded resistance to decriminalization continues:

On February 28…the Union cabinet approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018…[it] falls into the familiar trap of trying to use criminal law to solve a social problem.  The IPC already criminalises trafficking…The new Bill introduces 15 new offences on top of this, and introduces numerous…ambigu[ous]…clauses…[which] unfairly target…marginalised actors and rely…heavily on criminalisation…It only creates further confusion by introducing existing offences in the new packaging of “aggravated offences”, adding more layers of bureaucracy and complicating enforcement…The Bill…relies on the raid, rescue and rehabilitation model, which…is nothing but victim detention, resulting in the complete loss of liberty for an adult woman.  The rehabilitation process disregards the wishes and choices of the “rescued” person, especially sex workers.  Such a paternalistic approach…ignores the agency of adult women to determine what is good for them…

Torture Chamber (#770) 

The state wants us to call these subhuman monsters “correctional officers”:

Jailhouse video reveals California sheriff’s deputies watching and sometimes laughing as a schizophrenic man who had been strapped naked to a chair for 46 hours writhes on the floor of his cell, loses consciousness and eventually dies…the county [was forced to pay Andrew] Holland’s family $5 million for his death, which a medical examiner determined was caused by a pulmonary embolism…[directly caused by] the [inhumane] restraint chair…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#811)

What terrible “crimes” these “gangsters” are accused of:  not paying licenses.  Assisting migrants.  Illegally subdividing a building.  Doing their employees’ laundry.  The fiends!

A triad-controlled prostitution racket that brought sex workers from Europe, Asia and mainland China into Hong Kong has been broken up in one of the city’s biggest anti-vice crackdowns with the arrest of 75 people…the syndicate had turned 72 subdivided flats into one-woman brothels…four vice establishments and unlicensed massage centres in the same district were also controlled by the gang…the syndicate had its own laundry centre…and supplied towels to sex workers…police arrested 14 men and 61 women…

Overdue

“Fainting-couch feminism” is a brilliant coinage:

…[Massachusetts politician] Michelle DuBois…has been calling for the removal of a statehouse sign that reads “General Hooker Entrance” (so inscribed because it stands opposite a statue of [US Civil War] General Hooker), which she described as an affront to “women’s dignity”…If that isn’t the ultimate in futile, fainting-couch feminism, I’m not sure what is…attitudes like hers—which treat women as excessively fragile beings, and which posit that female “dignity” is diminished by even so slight an association with sex work as walking under a door that says “hooker”—just props up old-fashioned and patriarchal ideas about sex and gender…

Cops and Robbers (#813)

As I surmised, this sleazy attempt to hurt sex workers’ income is bankrolled by billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt:

[Pigs trying to harm sex workers] are using cyber-based “patrols” to [harass potential clients]…[in] Los Angeles…Working in partnership with Demand Abolition, a [vanity project] focused on eradicating [sex workers]…sheriff’s deputies post ads to make contact with would-be buyers.  Once phone contact is made, detectives identify themselves as members of the [vice squad]…advise the caller that solicitation is a crime and offer referrals to sex addiction treatment.  Investigators also use electronic “bots” to send [propaganda] text messages to buyers…During the first month of operations this year, nearly 1,900 conversations took place with potential sex buyers which prompted more than 30,000 text warnings designed to disrupt [sex workers’ business]…

Guinea Pigs (#818) 

Every New Orleanian knows that cockroaches can’t stand sunlight:

[After] The Verge reported the existence of a six-year predictive policing collaboration between the New Orleans Police Department and Palantir Technologies…which…was unknown to the public and key members of the city council prior to publication…outgoing…Mayor Mitch Landrieu…[said] his office would not renew its pro bono contract with Palantir, which has been extended three times since 2012…The mayor did not respond to repeated requests for comment from…media since news of the partnership broke.  There is also potential legal fallout from the revelation…[which was not included in] discovery evidence [for a number of criminal trials]…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

When an incredibly bad law skates through a legislature, follow the money:

FOSTA…offer[s] a powerful incentive for online platforms to police the speech of users and advertisers.  A perceived violation of a state’s anti-trafficking laws could lead to authorities seeking civil or criminal penalties, or a barrage of lawsuits.  So, why are movie studios involved at all in this debate?  Hollywood is lobbying for laws that will force online intermediaries to shut down user speech.  That’s what they’ve been seeking since practically the beginning of the Internet…For legacy software and entertainment companies, breaking down [Section 230] is another road to a controlled, filtered Internet—one that looks a lot like cable television.  Without safe harbors, the Internet will be a poorer place—less free for new ideas and new business models.  That suits some of the gatekeepers of the pre-Internet era just fine…An Internet that’s policed by “copyright bots” is what major film studios and record have advocated for more than a decade now…

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